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Full text of "The burning of Columbia, S.C. : a review of northern assertions and southern facts"

LIBRARY 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 



Class 




University of California Berkeley 



THE 



BURNING OF COLUMBIA, S. C. 



A. REVIEW 



or 



NORTHERN ASSERTIONS 



AND 



SOUTHERN FACTS. 



BY DR. D. H. TREZEVANT. 



COLUMBIA, S. C : 

S O I,' T II C A R O L I N I A N I* O W K R P H K K 

1866. 



THE 



BURNING OF COLUMBIA, S. C. 



REVTEW 



OP 



NORTHERN ASSERTIONS 



AND 



SOUTHERN FACTS 



BY DR. D. H. TREZEVANT. 

% ' * 



COLUMBIA, S. 0. : 

SOUTH CAROLINfAN POWER PRESS. 

1866. 



Entered according to Act of Congres?, in the year 1866, by 

F. G. DEFOXTAINE, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of South Carolina, 



PREFACE. 



Much discussion has been evoked on the question as to who is responsible 
for the burning of Columbia, and the outrages connected with that event. 
In South Carolina, the author of the crime is known to be Gen. WILLIAM 
T. SHERMAN; but among communities outside of the State, who have not 
been made familiar with the facts, ignorance on the subject naturally enough 
prevails. At the North especially, where the press has chosen to circulate 
only the one sided statements of its contributors, the public affect to believe 
that Columbia was destroyed by the Confederate authorities; and books 
have been written, in which falsehoods are gravely promulgated to establish 
this theory. The object of the present review is to put all doubts on the 
subject at rest forever. 

The writer of the following pages is one of the most highly respected 
citizens of South Carolina, and has been a resident of Columbia for more 
than fifty years. He was present during the most trying scenes of the con- 
flagration, a personal witness of many of the outrages narrated, and as the 
reader will discover, is in every way competent to handle his subject with 
a clearness and force which its importance demands. 

The articles were originally published in the Daily South Carolinian; but 
at the request of many citizens have been embodied in a more permanent 
shape. F. Gr. DfiFoNTAiNE, 

Editor Daily South Carolinian. 



227198 



THE BURNING OF COLUMBIA. 



"Who is to blame for the burning of 
Columbia is a subject that will long be 
disputed." So writes Conyngharn in 
his history of Sherman's grand march, 
but I think he solved the difficulty by 
his acknowledgments before he threw 
out his question and doubt. That con- 
troversy can be easily settled when- 
ever the specifications on which the 
charge is made, are brought to issue; 
after issue, the truth will become known. 
It is very evident that the belief of the 
writer was fairly made up ; that on 
his mind, there was little doubt as to 
who was the cause^f the destruction of 
the city, and that Sherman was the 
man. In discussing the question, he, 
by implication, charges Gov. Magrath 
and Gen. Hampton with being partly 
to blame; but as the statement which 
he makes, is founded on an erroneous 
impression, with the correction of that 
error it must fall. 

In the preceding part of his book 
there are several circumstances stated 
which are necessary to be brought into 
consideration before we follow him in 
his accusation; and it will be found 
by his acknowledgment, and that of 
others, that the city was in the hands 
of the Yankee army some time before 
the fire commenced; that they got quiet 
possession, it having been turned over 
to them by the Mayor, and that all 
matters under the command of Colonel 
Stone were peaceably and properly 
arranged. There is no mention of any 
insubordination, and not a hint of a fire 



existing in the city. Under these cir- 
cumstances, Stone held the city for 
about one hour before the appearance 
of Sherman; and Mayor Goodwyn and 
Aldermen Stork and McKenzie, certify 
that when they passed the cotton with 
Colonel Stone, it was not on fire, nor did 
it take fire for sometime after the author- 
ity was vested in him. The Mayor also 
says: "Gen. Sherman sent for me the 
morning after the city was burnt, and 
said that he regretted very much that it 
was burnt ; and that it was my fault, in 
suffering liquor to remain in the city, 
when it was evacuated." The evidence 
of other gentlemen will be brought to 
bear upon the time when, and the man- 
ner how it did take fire, for they saw the 
whole affair. Let me now return to Con- 
yngham's remarks, and it will be seen 
that as far as possible he corroborates the 
statement I have just made : "Our march 
through the city was so orderly that even 
the Southerners began to bless their stars 
that the reign of terror was over, and 
that a reign of peace and security, like 
that at Savannah was about being in- 
augurated. Alas! that the scenes of 
the night should mar so auspicious a 
beginning." "I spent the evening in 
the Capitol, looking over the archives 
and libraries. Part of Col. Stone's 
brigade I think the 13th Ohio, Col. 
Kennedy's regiment was on duty 
there. Towards night, crowds of our 
escaped prisoners, soldiers and negroes, 
intoxicated with their new-born liberty, 
which they looked upon as a license to 



do as they pleased, were parading the 
streets in groups." No mention as yet 
of any fires about the town, or of any 
cotton having been found flying about, 
or on fire, but he writes: "As soon as 
night set in, there ensued a sad scene 
indeed." (This is the time Sherman re- 
ports that the fires were in full blast, 
and that he had culled in the rest of 
'Wood's division.) "The suburbs were 
first set on fire" by whom? the prisoners 
and soldiers and negroes for it was not 
within 500 yards of the cotton that 
Sherman saw burning, "some assert, by 
the burning cotton which the rebels 
had piled along the streets. Pillaging 
gangs soon fired the heart of the town, 
then entered the houses, in many in- 
stances, carrying off articles of value. 
The flames soon burst out in all parts of 
the town/' &c., &c. "I trust I shall 
never witness such a scene again 
drunken soldiers rushing from house to 
house, emptying them of their valu- 
ables, and then firing them; negroes 
carrying off piles of bioty, and grinning 
at the good chance and exulting like ! 
so many demons ; officers and men j 
revelling on the wines and liquors until 
the burning houses buried them in 
their drunken orgies." I think this | 
looks very much like a city turned over j 
to the soldiery to do with as they please; j 
corresponds with what they said that 
they were authorized first to sack, and 
then to burn it that they, both officers 
and men, had so determined, and that 
it met with Old Bill's full approbation, j 
"The frequent shots on every side j 
told that some victim had fallen 
shrieks and groans and cries of distress 
resounded from every side. A troop of | 
cavalry I think the 29th Missouri 
were left to patrol the streets; but I did 
not once see them interfering with the 
groups that rushed about to fire and ! 
pillage the houses." Methinks after 
penning such a description, that there 
was no occasion to ask "who was to 
blame for the burning of Columbia." 
But let us see what more he has to 



report: "True, Gens. Sherman and 
Howard, and others, were out giving in- 
structions for putting out the fire in one 
place, while a hundred fires were light- 
ing all around. How much better 
would it have been had they brought 
in a division of sofyer troops and cleared 
out the town with steel and bullet. 
Gen. Wood's first division, 15th corps, 
occupied Columbia; Col. Stone's brigade 
was the first to enter the city and hoist 
the flag over the Capitol enviable no- 
toriety had not the drunken, riotous 
scenes of the night sullied its honor." 
Is it not somewhat strange that Sherman 
should have been solicitous about the 
fire ? He had told Gen. Wheeler that he 
would burn all the cotton, and that as to 
the empty houses, he paid little attention 
to whether they were burnt or not. We 
now come to the question, "Who is to 
blame for the burning of Columbia is a 
subject that will be long disputed. , I 
know the negroes and escaped prisoners 
were infuriated and easily incited the in- 
ebriated soldiers to join them in their 
work of vandalism. Governor Magrath 
and Gen. Wade Hampton, are partly 
accountable for the destruction of 
their city. General Beauregard, Mayor 
Goodwyn and others, wanted to send 
a deputation - as far as Orangeburgh 
to surrender the city, and when 
evacuating, to destroy all the liquors. 
In both of these wise views they 
were over-ruled by the Governor, 
and Wade Hampton, the latter stating 
that he would defend the town from 
house to house." 

There are two points in these re- 
marks, that require to be considered. 
It is very evident that Conynghani 
believed that the returned prisoners 
and inebriated soldiers, were the acting 
agents; and that Governor Magrath, 
and General Hampton, were only 
blameable, inasmuch, as they did not 
surrender the city when the enemy 
were forty miles distant. To the griev- 
ous fault committed by the latter in not 
so doing, we have only to say, that 



General Hampton had no command at 
that time; could have had no voice in 
the affair; and certainly, could not have 
overruled the wishes of Beauregard, 
who was his superior, and alone in of- 
fice. Moreover, the proposition never 
was made. I now have by me a letter 
from Mayor Goodwyn, in which he 
states, that no such proposition ever 
came before him. This is the only 
ground on which Conyngham attaches 
blame to Hampton, and I think I have, 
shown that he had nothing to do with it, 
for the subject never was discussed; and 
so falls the allegation made by Conyng- 
ham. Had the charge against Hampton 
then existed, which has been subse- 
quently made, he must have known of it. 
He was one of Sherman's aids was at 
Headquarters a writer for the Herald, 
and would not have omitted such news 
as that. His object was to gather up 
whatever would create a sensation. 

I will add one or two more extracts 
from the same author, relative to Col- 
umbia, and then take the reader back 
to some of the scenes on the route of the 
army to that place, to show the animus 
with which it entered Carolina, and 
the determination of both officers and 
men, as to the course they intended to 
pursue; which determination was signal- 
ly assisted, and strengthened by Sher- 
mans own conduct at McBrides planta- 
tion. That whole march was character- 
ized by such acts as we would have 
supposed a body of fiends let loose from 
Hell might have taken some pleasure 
in enacting; and as Nichols says in his 
work on the march, "you will in vain 
search history for a parallel." 

"There can be no denial of the asser- 
tion, that the feeling among the troops 
was one of extreme bitterness towards 
the people of the State of South Caro- 
lina. It was freely expressed as the 
column hurried over the bridge at Sis- 
ter's ferry, eager to commence the pun- 
ishment of original secessionists. 
Threatening words were heard from 
soldiers who prided themselves on con- 



servatism in house-burning while in 
Georgia, and officers openly confessed 
their fears that the coining campaign 
would be a wicked one. Just or unjust 
as this feeling was towards the country 
people in South Carolina, it was univer- 
sal. I first saw its fruits at Rarysburg 
(Purisburg is meant), where two or 
three piles of blackened bricks and an 
acre or so of dying embers marked the 
site of an old revolutionary town; and 
this before the column had fairly got 
its hand in." 

"At McBride's plantation, where 
Gen. Sherman had his headquarters, 
the out-houses, offices, shanties and sur- 
roundings were all set on fire before he 
left. I think the fire approaching the 
dwelling hastened his departure. If 
a house was empty, this waspnma fade 
evidence that the owners were rebels, 
and all was sure to be consigned to the 
flames. If they remained at home it 
was taken for granted that every one in 
South Carolina was a rebel, and the 
chances were the place was consumed. 
In Georgia few houses were burned ; 
here few escaped, and the country was 
converted into one vast bonfire. The 
pine forests were fired; the resin facto- 
ries were fired; the public buildings 
and private dwellings were fired. The 
middle of the finest day looked black 
and gloomy, for a dense smoke arose on 
all sides clouding the very heavens at 
night the tall pine trees seemed so many 
huge pillars of fire. The flames hissed 
and screeched, as they fed on the fat 
resin and dry branches, imparting to 
the forest a most fearful appearance." 

"Vandalism of this kind, though not 
| encouraged, was seldom punished. True, 
where every one is guilty alike, there 
will be no informers." 

"The ruined homesteads of the Pal- 
metto State will long be remembered. 
The army might safely march the dark- 
est night, the crackling pine woods 
shooting up their columns of flame, and 
the burning houses along the way would 
light it on ; while the dark clouds and pil- 



lars of smoke would safely cover its rears. 
I hazard nothing in saying that three- 
iifths in value of the personal property of 
the counties we have passed through, 
were taken by Sherman's army. The 
graves were even ransacked, etc. The 
scenes I witnessed in Columbia, were 
scenes that would have driven Allaric 
the Goth into frenzied ecstasies had he 
witnessed them." 

"As for the wholesale burnings, pillage, 
devastation, committed in South Caro- 
lina, magnify all I have said of Georgia 
some fifty fold, and then throw in an 
occasional murder, 'just to bring an old 
hardfisted cuss to his senses/ and you 
have a pretty good idea of the whole 
thing. Besides compelling the enemy 
to evacuate Charleston, we destroyed 
Columbia, Orangeburg, and several 
other places, also over fifty miles of rail- 
road, and thousands of bales of cotton." 
This is a very fair admission, and we 
might rest here and go no farther. After 
what he has admitted to have been done 
on the route, to conclude the acts of the 
army by saying they had destroyed Co- 
lumbia was giving up the question. On 
his mind there could have been no doubt 
as to who burnt the city, and as little as 
to who was the cause of its being burned. 

The enviable notoriety is certainly 
due to Sherman, and to him alone. 
Those who did the deed were mere agents, 
and acted to please a cherished com- 
mander; they all stated that they knew 
what Old Bill, (their pet name for him) 
wanted, and they were determined he 
should be gratified. 

Capt. Cornyn has also hazarded an 
opinion as to the burning, and with but 
little hesitation fixes that act upon Gen. 
W. Hampton. He is, however, but the 
copyist and mere echo of Gen. Sherman, 
and gives no single reason why, he 
should thus have placed the odium of 
such an act upon Gen. Hampton. He 
has, however, made use of some other 
charges tending to implicate Gen. 
Hampton, which alone induces me to 
take any notice of him here. His de- 



scription is that of Sherman's verbatim, 
with a few additions and rhetorical 
flourishes to render it more plausible. 
Capt. Cornyn in his letter to Archbishop 
Hughes thus writes: "Shortly after our 
columns were put in motion, the enemy 
beat a hasty retreat for the city, burning 
the bridges as they crossed the river. 
Here permit me to say that Gen. Hamp- 
ton, on the 15th and 16th February, had 
it in his power to save Columbia, and to 
save his people from the terrible desola- 
tion that swept over their city on the 
night of the 17th and 18th." Again he 
says "had Gen. Hampton acted the part 
of a great captain, etc., etc, he would 
have proposed on the 15th and 16th to 
have surrendered his army, and country 
to Sherman, for the promise of protec- 
tion. I am satisfied in my own mind, 
that Gen. Sherman would have accept- 
ed it, but Gen. Hampton pursued a dif- 
ferent and most fratricidal course. On 
Thursday the 16th February, General 
Hamptom ordered all cotton to be rolled 
in the streets, preparatory to burning 
the same." No such words are to be 
found in the order, but as I shall ex- 
amine and reply to that part of the ac- 
cusation against Hampton when I take 
up Sherman's charge, of which this is 
but the echo, I will only now say that 
the order alluded to by Cornyn was 
given on the 14th, not on the 16th, two 
days before Hampton was in command. 
For the same reason, had he been 
willing, he could not have proposed a 
surrender, and I am satisfied in my own 
mind, that Sherman for that reason 
would have taken no notice of it. 

Captain Cornyn states that when 
he came into the town: "We found 
several buildings burning when we en- 
tered. The cotton in the streets was 
burning in many places, &c.j" and 
again: "There were hundreds of bales 
of cotton in the streets from which the 
devouring clement was hissing forth. 
So high was the wind that it frequently 
carried immense sheets of burning cot- 
ton ten and even fifteen squares through 



the air like a burning comet, leaving 
in its wake fiery desolation. " I have 
only to say to this grandiloquent de- 
'seription, that it is not true. There 
was no house on fire when the army 
came in. There was but one pile of 
cotton burning at 12 o'clock- it was put 
out by one, and completely. It never 
blazed again, nor did a single house catch 
fire from it. Capt. Cornyn was entirely 
mistaken. There arc some other errors 
in that letter, but they are not worth the 
trouble of refuting. 

Major Nichols next presents himself, 
and as a staff officer of Gen. Sherman, 
we may suppose that ego ctrcx meus to 
be one. His account is very much 
the counterpart of Sherman's, but he 
has many remarks and admissions that 
arc peculiarly apropos to the subject, 
and calculated to lead one definitely to 
the object sought after, viz : "who is to 
blame for the burning of Columbia." 
Major Nichols remarks under the date 
of oOth January: "The actual invasion 
of South Carolina has begun. The 
well known sight of columns of black 
smoke meets our gaze again; this 
time houses are burning, and South 
Carolina has commenced to pay an in- 
stalment, long overdue, on her debt to 
justice and humanity. With the help 
of God, we will have principal and in- 
terest before we leave her borders. 
There is a terrible gladness in the re- 
alization of so many hopes and wishes."' 
Again, Nichols exclaims : "But here we 
are ; and wherever our footsteps pass, 
fire, ashes and desolation follow in the 
path." In speaking of the occupation 
of the city, "On every side were evi- 
dences of disorder; bales of cotton 
scattered here and there, articles of 
merchandise and furniture cast pell 
mell in every direction by the frighten- 
ed inhabitants, &c." But no mention 
of anything on firo. Nichols writes: 
"I began to-day's record early in the 
evening, and while writing, 1 noticed 
an unusual glare in the sky and heard 
a sound of running to and fro in the 



streets. Running out, I found to my 
surprise and real sorrow," (why so after 
the expressions used above?) "that the 
central part of the city, including the 
main business street, was in flames, 
while the wind, which had been blow- 
ing a hurricane all day, was driving the 
sparks and cinders in heavy masses 
over the eastern portion of the city 
where the finest residences are situated. 
Those buildings, all wooden, were in- 
stantly ignited by the flying sparks. In 
half an hour the conflagration was 
raging in every direction, &c." It 
will be perceived that both Conynghain 
and Nichols state that the fire com- 
menced in the evening, after dark, at 
the very time that Sherman states it to 
have been so great that he had to call 
in Wood's division. It will be observ- 
ed also, that Conyngham, in his re- 
marks, states "that Sherman and How- 
ard, instead of looking after a single 
fire, when hundreds were burning 
around, had better have called in fresh 
troops and driven the drunkards out 
with steel and lead." And again, that he 
says, "about day Wood's division was 
called on, when nothing was left to 
pillage or burn.". It is important to 
bear these facts in memory, as it will be 
seen that when Sherman gives an 
account of the catastrophe to freo him- 
self from blame, he changes the whole 
order of the affair and makes the fires 
to have been burning all day, but leap- 
ing into life and activity when tho 
night came on, and requiring him to 
call for additional assistance. Nichols 
says "Gen. Howard and his officers 
worked with their own hands until long 
after midnight, trying to save life and 
property;" we presume, for the purpose 
of having it presented to them, as he, 
Nichols has so naively detailed on page 
204 the manner in which silver 
goblets, &c., had found their way into 
the camp. 

Nichols proceeds and states: "Va- 
rious causes are assigned to explain the 
origin of the fire. 1 am quite sure that 



10 



it originated in sparks flying from the 
hundreds of bales of cotton which the 
rebels had placed along the middle of 
the main street, and fired as they left 
the city." This is mere assertion ; no 
proof of the fact has been offered ; 
the number is exaggerated, there being 
not more than fifty bales, and from 
their own statemencs, there is every 
reason to believe that it was not so. It 
is positively certain that up to half-past 
eleven o'clock, there had been no fire 
in the city; and then it had been un- 
der the command of Col. Stone for 
fully one hour. Again, he says: "There 
were fires, however, which must have 
been started independent of the above 
named cause. The source of these is 
ascribed to the desire for revenge from 
some 200 of our prisoners who had 
escaped from the cars as they were be- 
ing conveyed from this city to Char- 
lotte, c." Again, it i* said that "the 
soldiers who first entered the town, in- 
toxicated with success and a liberal 
supply of bad liquor, &c., set fi^e to un- 
occupied houses. There has neverbeen 
any proof offered as to the cotton hav- 
ing been fired by Hampton's orders, or 
by his men. It stands alone upon the 
authority of Gen. Sherman's ipse dixit. 
Col. Stone, who had the best opportu- 
nity of judging of the fact, has not been 
appealed to and has made no such re- 
port. His evidence would have ten 
times the weight of Sherman's asser- 
tion, as he was the first to enter, passed 
through the Main street, went by the 
cotton and saw it, and left his men at 
that very spot. From thence he went 
to the Capitol with Alderman Stork. 
The men left, occupied themselves as 
men will do, by lounging about the 
cotton, laying on it and smoking, and 
whilst doing so, the cotton was discov- 
ered to be on fire about one hour after 
they had been there. 

Nichols proceeds with his narrative 
and writes. "Houses have unquestion- 
ably been burned during our march, 
but they were the property of notorious 



rebels who were fortunate in escaping 
so easily ; while I have yet to hear of a 
single instance of outrage offered to a 
woman or a child by any soldier of our 
army." We do not know what Major 
Nichols may consider an outrage, but 
for a man to catch a lady by the throat, 
and thrust his hand into her bosom to 
feel for her watch, or purse, would in 
former days have been regarded as 
such. So would the lifting up of a 
lady's dress, because she was not quick 
enough in freeing her purse from her 
girdle, the threats of death and a pis- 
tol at her head having alarmed her and 
caused her to give. I should hardly 
suppose that even in such an army as 
was led by Sherman, it would have 
been considered very chivalric to place 
[ a pistol at a lady's breast, and demand 
her watch and jewels, whilst a compan- 
ion put another to the head of her 
daughter and demanded the same. Nor 
would I deem that man entitled to ad- 
mission in civilized society, who would 
insult the feelings of a lady by taking 
to a room, which he had forced from 
her, and opposite to her own sleep- 
ing apartment and that of her daugh- 
ter, a negro womaq and remain there 
with hvr all night and go off with 
her in the morning; yet this was done by 
one Capt. W. T. I)uglass, a commissary, 
whose name was mentioned to the lady 
by his clerk, Mr. Sutherland, with a re- 
quest that it should be published for 
that act, and for the theft he had been 
guilty of in her house as every man 
ought to be, who took up his quar- 
ters in a house and suffered it to be pil- 
laged as hers had been. But what shall 
I say of the villain who fired the house 
of a lone woman, and then in the pres- 
ence of the lady took hold of her maid 
and compelled her to be subservient to 
his brutal wishes? Words are wanting 
properly to designate such an act, and 
we can only say it would have disgraced 
even Butler the beast. Yet those acts 
were committed in many of the houses; in 
some instances done by officers as well as 



11 



men; hence the "screams and shrieks 
and groans and pistol shots" that were 
heard by Conyngham and related by him 
on page 331. Still further and more wan- 
ton atrocities were committed, such as 
no one would repeat, and none but the 
lowest grade of blackguardism could 
have perpetrated. 

So far as the Carolinian lady was con- 
cerned, much respect was shown to her 
person and her character. She was rob- 
bed and abused, to obtain her jewels and 
her money; but the instances .of other 
injuries, though many, were not pro- 
portionate to the opportunities. The 
Yankee's gallantry, debauchery and bru- 
tality, were confined to the negro; he 
affiliated with them; they were congen- 
ial spirits; their habits, their thoughts 
and their natures assimilated ; they were 
their associates in thc A camp,in the streets 
and in the ball-room; and it was among 
that class, that their brutal indelicacy 
occurred. Neither party felt shame for 
what passed between them; but like the 
beasts of the forest, indulged in their 
caprices wherever they met. It was not 
unusual to see a Yankee soldier with his 
arm around the neck of a negro wench, 
even in the common thoroughfares, or 
hugging and kissing a mulatto girl, 
when he could find one so degraded, 
that she would not spurn him for his 
impudence and want of common decency. 

I will give one extract more from 
Nichols and then turn to his com- 
mander who was the source from 
which the foul slander emanated, and 
see on what authority he makes his 
charge. "In the record of great wars 
we read of vast armies marching through 
an enemy's country, carrying death and 
destruction in their path; of villages 
burned, cities pillaged, a tribe or a na- 
tion swept out of existence. History, 
however, will be searched in vain for a 
parallel to the scathing and destructive 
effect of the invasion of the Carolinas." 
"Putting aside the mere military ques- 
tion for a moment, there are considera- 
tions which, overleaping the present gen- 



| oration, affect the future existence of 
the section of the country through which 
our army has marched I" "Over a re- 
gion forty miles in width stretching 
from Savannah to Port Royal through 
South Carolina to G-oldsboro in North 
Carolina, agriculture and commerce, 
even if peace come speedily, cannot be 
fully revived in our day." "Day by 
day our legions of armed men surged 
over the land, destroying its substance. 
Cattle were gathered into increasing 
droves; fresh horses and mules were 
taken to replace the lame and feeble 
animals ; rich granaries and store houses 
were stripped of corn, fodder, meal and 
| flour; cotton gins, presses, factories and 
| mills were burned to the ground, on 
1 every side; the head, centre and rear of 
our column might be traced by columns 
of smoke by day and the glare of fires 
by night." "In all the length and 
| breadth of that broad pathway the burn- 
ing hand of war pressed heavily, blast- 
ing and withering where it fell." And 
such was the act of a band of brothers, 
anxious for the return of the South to 
the Union, to restore the friendly re- 
lations between the two sections of 
country. Such were the means used to 
bring about fraternal concord, to reunite 
a mistake n people, to restore them to 
their pristine condition, and insure a 
lasting peace. It was a most extraordi- 
nary device one worthy of Sherman 
from whom it emanated, but it really 
seems more in unison with the views of 
the officer who while wishing them all in 
hell, yet was determined to "smelt 
them back into the Union." TV hero 
was the Constitution they were fighting 
for ; where the individualities of tho 
States that had so long been cherished? 
where those rights so sacred that the gen- 
eral government could not even purchase 
a piece of land without asking for and 
obtaining the sanction of the State ? All 
ignored, all gone, all sunk and smelted 
into the one grand consolidated national 
government of Sherman, with more 
absolute power over the lives and liberty 



of the people than tho autocrat of 
Russia. 

From the subordinates, let me now 
turn to the great leader, whose word 
was law, and whose nod was destiny. 
Let us sec what Sherman says as to 
"who is to blame for the burning of 
Columbia. " In the frequent conversa- 
tion which Sherman had with the in- 
habitants of the town, he uniformly 
attributed its destruction to the whiskey 
which his men obtained, and their 
subsequent intoxication. In no in- 
stance that I have ever heard, did he 
attribute it to General Hampton, nor in 
3iis letters, did he deny his complicity 
in the affair, until his report to the 
General Government ; then, for the 
first time, we learned that General 
Sherman disci-aimed having had any- 
thing to do with its destruction; that on 
the contrary, he ordered it not to be 
burnt. Such having been the fact, it 
certainly was very unfortunate for the 
citizens of Columbia, that the Generals 
views should have been so much mis- 
understood, and that all the soldiers and 
officers who came into the city, were 
under the impression it was a 
doomed city, and was to be given up 
to pillage until night ; and then at a 
signal given, it was to be burnt. Such 
undoubtedly was the prevailing opin- 
ion, and a nervous restlessness was to 
be observed about them, an anxious 
looking out for an expected event, 
which they instantly recognized and hail- 
ed when the rockets were thrown up, and 
immediately proceeded to their task. 
That General Sherman had given, his 
orders to General Howard, to burn all 
the public buildings, by which he 
meant all that had been used in the 
XJonfed.erate service, he himself, ac- 
knowledges. That he did so before he 
entered the town, or became acquainted 
with their position, is also certain; that 
they were so situated, their crema- 
tion would end in one general confla- 
gration, wag patent to every one, and 
ihc order given for their destruction 



was, as a matter of course, an order 
for the destruction of the city ; that 
General Sherman gave that order he 
has himself recorded ; but in no place 
has he shown where the order ever 
was countermanded, or where regard- 
ing the safety of the city he had 
guaranteed, with such a wind as was 
blowing, that he sought the means to 
prevent the catastrophe. From the 
statement of his officers, it was certain 
that he could have prevented it. It 
was certain that he made no effort to 
do so and absolutely certain that he 
allowed the very corps who had ex- 
hibited the greatest animosity, and 
uttered the most violent threats to enter 
the city, remain in it when drunk, and 
continue there until its destruction was 
completed, or as ConyDgham writes 
"until there was nothing more to pilfer 
or burn." The same men who were 
detailed to destroy it, entered with 
the belief that it would be peculiarly 
agreeable to him, as General Howard 
says. They stated such to be their in- 
tention. Stated that their orders were 
on the appearance of a certain signal, 
the rockets, that they were to fire and 
pillage, and to continue until the bugle's 
sound countermanded the orders, and 
called in the incendiaries. Such were the 
facts stated by hundreds of the soldiers, 
and officers as early as 12 o'clcloek in 
the day, and such were the facts that 
developed themselves on the approach 
of the evening. General Sherman in 
his remarks to the Secretary of War, 
endeavours to exculpate himself, and to 
fix the terrible accident on another. 
It is my object, now, to state the charge 
of the General, and to show to the 
world that it was not true; and that 
from all the incident? previous, and 
subsequent to his entrance into Colum- 
bia, he himself and no other was the 
cause of the destruction of the city of 
Columbia. 

He writes : ".In anticipation of the 
occupation of the city, I had made 
written orders to General Howard 



13 



touching tlic conduct of the troops. 
These were to destroy absolutely all 
arsenals aud public property not need- 
ed for our own use, as well as railroads, 
depots and machinery, useful in war to 
an enemy; but to spare all dwellings, 
colleges, schools, asylum and harmless 
property. I was the first to cross the 
pontoon-bridge, and in company with 
General Howard rode into the city. 
The day was clear, but a perfect tem- 
pest of wind was raging. The brigade 
of Colonel Stone was already in the 
city and was properly posted. Citizens 
and soldiers were on the streets, and 
general good order prevailed. General 
Wade Hampton, who commanded the 
Confederate rear guard of calvary, had 
in anticipation of the capture of Colum- 
bia, ordered that all cotton, public and 
private, should be moved into the streets 
and fired, to prevent our making use of 
it. Bales were piled everywhere, the 
rope and bagging cut, and tufts of 
cotton were blown about in the wind, 
lodged in the trees and against houses, 
so as to resemble a snow storm. Some 
of these piles of cotton were burning, 
especially, one in the very heart of the 
city, near the Court House, but the fire 
was partially subdued by the labors of 
our soldiers. Before one single public 
building had been fired by order, the 
smouldering fires set by Hampton's 
orders were rekindled by the wind and 
communicated to the buildings around. 
About dark, they began to spread and 
got beyond the control of the brigade 
on duty within the city. The whole 
of Woods' division was brought in, but 
it was found impossible to check the 
flames, which, by midnight became un- 
manageable, and raged until about 4 
a. m., when the wind subsiding, they 
were got under control." " I was up 
nearly all night, and saw Generals 
Howard, Log;in, Wood and others, 
laboring to save houses, etc-., etc." " I 
disclaim on the part of my army any 
agency in this fire, but on the contrary, 
claim that we saved what of Columbia 



remains uncansumed. And without 
hesitation, I charge General Wade 
Hampton with" having burned his own 
city of Columbia, not with a malicious 
intent, or as the manifestation of a 
silly " Roman stoicism," but from folly 
and want of sense, in filling it with lint, 
cotton and tinder. Our officers and men 
on duty worked well to extinguish the 
flames ; but others not on duty, includ- 
ing the officers who had long been im- 
prisoned there, rescued by us, may havo 
assisted in spreading the fire, and may 
have indulged in unconcealed joy to sec 
the ruins of the capital of South Caroli- 
na." I have already alluded to the or- 
ders given to General Howard in antici- 
pation of the taking of the city, and of 
the reckless and wanton destruction of 
property that must arise therefrom, and 
not being acquainted with the position 
of the houses which were thus doomed 
to destruction one of which, the Cen- 
tral Bureau, the third house fired, was 
ignited by Yankee soldiers, and put out 
and was again fired, and was the cause 
of the destruction of the whole block. 
It was near a large dry goods store and 
drug establishment, which were also 
fired at the same time, by a Yan- 
kee soldier furnished with combus- 
tibles. This Bureau was one of the 
buildings ordered by Sherman to be 
fired, and for this purpose several 
men were detailed. They waited for 
the signal, and in ten minutes after 
it was given, the place was in flames. 
It was impossible that this build- 
ing could have been fired by the 
cotton ; it was to the northward 
and westward of the cotton, with a hur- 
ricane blowing from northwest. About 
the same time, the house of Mr. Jacob 
Bell was set fire to and burned This 
house was at least five squares to the 
northward and eastward, and it also was 
safe from the cotton, but not from the 
turpentine carried about by the incen- 
diaries. There is no evidence that the 
order for burning was recalled, and Gen. 
Howard acknowledged that the troops 



14 



were under the impression that Sher- 
man wished the city destroyed. I will 
refer to this hereafter. Sherman says 
"the brigade of Col. Stone was already 
in the city and properly posted citi- 
zens and soldiers were in the street to- 
gether, and general good order prevail- 
ed. " Except in their stealing, such was 
the fact and contined so until after dark 
when the rockets were discharged, and 
then the whole scene changed. (See Con- 
yngham'sandNichol'saccounitof thecon- 
ductof the troops &o., at that time.) What 
was it that changed the orderly soldier 
obedient to his commander, to the mid- 
night assassin, robber and house-burner? 
Three rockets discharged the signal 
agreed on when as the soldiers said "Hell 
was to be let loose and the city wrapped in 
flames." But let me take Sherman up in 
the order of his report. "Gen. Hampton 
who commanded etc., ordered that all cot- 
ton should be moved in the streets and 
lired to prevent our making use of it." 

In his letter to llawls, Sherman says 
that in the printed order which he saw, 
Hampton ordered "that on the approach 
of the Yankee army all the cotton 
should be burned." This order which 
he says he saw, and worded as above 
is the proof that he offers of Gen. Hamp- 
ton having burned the town. He has 
no other. It is the ground of the 
whole charge, and the one on which all 
his allegations are founded. Were I to 
grant that an order had been given by 
Hampton, it would become necessary 
for Gen. Sherman to prove that the one 
he had named was the identical one ; 
and that it gave the direction, and au- 
thority to act, which Sherman states ; 
but I am not disposed to cede so much, 
and I think it can be made apparent, 
though in his name, that t\e order did 
not emanate from him that he sought 
to have it countermanded, succeeded 
in so doing, and had it stopped. That 
order is dated 

HEADQUARTERS, Feb. 14, 1865. 

[Special Order No. ] 

All persons having cotton stored in 



tho city of Columbia, are directed to 
have it placed where it can be burned 
ia case of necessity, without danger of 
destroying buildings. All cotton stored 
here will be burned at any cost rather 
than allow it to fall in the hands of the 
enemy. By order of 

Major Gen. HAMPTON. 
R. Lowndes, Capt. and A. A. G. 

Feb. 15th. 

I think it will be difficult to show in 
that order, any directions to roll the 
cotton into the streets, or to fire it upon 
the approach of the Yankee army. It 
contains nothing of the kind ; it is a 
precautionary order to be acted on if a 
necessity should occur. General Sher- 
man was too well acquainted with what 
was transpiring in the army of his op- 
ponent, not to know that Gen. Hampton 
at the time that order was given was 
not in command that order is dated 
on the 14th. Gen. Hampton was put 
in command on the night of the 16th ; 
he therefore could have had no author- 
ity to issue such a one; he was only as- 
sisting Beauregard. How that order 
was printed in his name I know not, 
and cannot therefore speak. I presume 
it could be explained, but for my pur- 
poses it is not necessary. It unques- 
tionably is not such an order as Sher- 
man stated that he saw no rolling into 
the streets and by it no one was au- 
thorized to fire the cotton. It was one 
of precaution, to be acted on under a 
contingency, and of that contingency 
Gen. Hampton was to be the judge. 
No authority was given to any one to 
burn it, nor could it have been burnt but 
by the order of Hampton, who was to 
judge of the necessity. That ho did 
not issue that order is to my mind very 
plain, for if he had done so, he would 
have had the same power that gave the 
order, to authorize him to withdraw it ; 
but it seems he felt that he had not, for 
immediately upon taking his command 
as Lieut. General, he applied to Beau- 
regard to get the order countermanded, 
as will be seen by the following corres- 



15 



pondcnce. Gen. Hampton writes to 
Gen. Beauregard as follows : 

April 22, 1866. 

"Gen. Sherman having charged me 
in his official report with the destruc- 
tion of Columbia, and having reiterated 
the same falsehood in a recent letter to 
13enj. Ra7,ls of that city, may I beg 
you to state such facts in reference to 
this matter as are in your possession. 
If you recollect, I advised you on the 
morning the Yankees came in, not to 
burn the cotton as this would endanger 
the town. I stated that as they hud de- 
stroyed the railroad they could not re- 
move the cotton. Upon this represen- 
tation you directed me to issue an or- 
der that the cotton should not be burned. 
This I did at once, and there was not a 
bale on fire when the Yankees came 
into the town. You saw the cotton as 
you left the city, and you can state that 
none was on fire. Very respectfullv 
yours. W. II. 

To Gen. Beauregard. 
To which Gen. Beauregard returned 
the following answer endorsed on the 
letter : 

N. 0., May 2, 1866. 
The above statement of Gen. Hamp- 
ton relative to the order issued by me 
at Columbia, S. C., not to burn the cot- 
ton in that city is perfectly true and 
correct. The only thing on fire at the 
time of the evacuation was the depot 
building of the S. C. R. R., which 
caught fire accidentally from the explo- 
sion of some ammunition ordered to be 
sent towards Charlotte, N. C. 

G. T. BEAUREGARD. 
Evidence such as this ought to be 
sufficient to exonerate Hampton from 
all agency in the burning of the cotton. 
The fact that he asked Beauregard to 
countermand the order, evidences that 
he himself had not authority to do so; 
and if he had no authority to counter- 
mand, certainly he could have had none 
to order. His asking for that power 
destroys the validity of the whole charge. 



But is the order such as Sherman states 
it ? I think not. It gave authority to no 
one to burn the cotton. That the cot- 
ton was not on fire when Generals 
Beauregard and Hampton left Colum- 
bia is now stated; and the Mayor testi- 
fies that when he left the city to go and 
meet Sherman there was no fire of 
any kind in the city; and he testifies to 
the fact that when he came back with 
Colonel Stone the cotton was not then 
on fire. Aldermen McKenzie and Stork 
both testify to the same, and Stork 
says that he saw the Yankee soldiers 
light their segars and throw the matches 
in among the cotton. Upon McKenzie's 
pointing out cotton to Captain Pratt, 
and that very pile, Captain Pratt re- 
marked, "I wish you had burnt the 
whole; it would have saved us trouble, 
as our orders are to burn all the cotton 
in the town." Had the cotton bsen on 
fire Pratt would have noticed and spoken 
ofit. Alderman McKenzie, who was the 
Captain of one of the Fire Companies, 
states that it was somo time after his 
return with Stone and Pratt before the 
cotton was on fire, and when the alarm 
was given he proceeded to the place, 
aud never left it until the fire was 
perfectly extinguished, and the cotton 
so soaked that it could not again blaze 
out. Alderman Stork says the same, 
and adds, moreover, that even tic con- 
flagration of the night had not been able 
to burn it, for it was laying there for 
some days after. Some was then remov- 
ed and the rest trodden down and 
incorporated into the ground. There 
are hundreds of witnesses to the same 
fact. 

The Rev. Mr. Shand was present 
when, the cotton took fire and I will 
quote what he says in a letter to me on 
the subject, and then leave that part of 
it as settled : "There was a row of 
cotton bales which had been loosely 
packed, and from almost all of which 
portions of the fabric were protruding. 
Along this line of bales there were 
numbers of Yankee soldiers, and none 



16 



but they thc'citizens who were present 
being confined to the pavements on each 
side of the street, and at a distance of 
from thirty to forty feet or more from 
the cotton. The soldiers were passing 
to and fro, alongside of the bales, ap- 
parently in a state of high excitement, 
and almost frantic with joy; all, or most 
of them, with lighted scgars in their 
mouths. I was standing nearly mid- 
way between the two corners, watching 
their movements, when on a sudden 
the bale at the market end took fire, 
and the wind being quite fresh, the 
flames increased and spread with fearful 
rapidity, and in a short time the whole, 
or at least the greater part, was in a 
blaze. The fire engines of the city were 
brought to the spot as expcditiously as 
possible and the fire was extinguished 
in the course of an hour. It was evident 
that it originated from the fire of the 
cigars, falling upon the loose cotton. 
Indeed there was no other way of ac- 
counting for it; and another thing is to 
be noted, that neither sparks nor flames 
were extended to the neighboring build- 
ings and no damage was done except to 
the cotton/' I will continue the nara- 
tive of this gentleman as it runs on to 
the events of the night; since he details 
clearly the circumstances which occur- 
red and to which he was an eye witness. 
I have thus fairly shown that General 
Hampton gave no such order to fire 
the cotton as Sherman states, nor was 
its burning attributable to any of his 
men, or the citizens; but, that it origi- 
nated from the acts of Sherman's own 
men, and probably from the very ones 
who had be^n detailed for the purpose, 
and felt that they were performing an 
acceptable service to their General. I 
will also state here a part of a conver- 
sation which took place between General 
Howard and Mr. Shand on the burning 
of Columbia, to which I have elsewhere 
alluded, and will use the very words 
spoken. General Howard expressed 
his regret at the occurrence and added 
the following words : "Though General 



Sherman did not order the burning of 
the town, yet somehow or other the men 
had taken up the idea that if they des- 
troyed the capital of South Carolina, it 
would be peculiarly gratifying to Gener- 
al Sherman." JMr. Shaud continues; 
"The fire was wholly put out by one 
o'clock P. AL, and from that hour until 
between 7 and 8 o'clock P. M., there was 
no other fire in the city, and the burn- 
ing of said cotton, therefore, had noth- 
ing to do with the subsequent conflagra- 
tion and destruction of the town. At tho 
hour last inentioned rockets, were seen 
to ascend and immediately thereafter a 
fire broke out in a central portion of the 
city near the market, and the wind 
being still exceedingly high, it soon as- 
sumed alarming proportions. I stood 
in my front piazza watching it with 
much anxiety and though inclined at first 
to regard its origin as accidental, I was 
soon undeceived. The fire occurred, as 
I said, in a central part of the city and 
to th* north of my residence, but I had 
been looking upon it but for a short 
time when I noticed fresh flames burst- 
ing out in the east, west and south, at, 
points very distant from each other and 
not possibly caused by the communica- 
tion of flames from one to the other. 
The revelry of soldiers in the streets and 
their shouts and exultation, as fresli 
rockets went up, and fresh buildings 
took fire, scenes which to some extent 
came under my own observation, added 
to tho awful character of the occasion 
and gave rise to the painful impression 
that the city was doomed to desolation 
and ruin; a fact which was admitted 
and boasted of by some of the soldiers 
themselves. By midnight the whole 
city presented one vast sheet of flames, 
and in the midst, and during the pro- 
gress of the appalling calamity, might 
be heard above all other noises, the 
demoniac and gladsome shouts of the 
soldiery." He further speaks of efforts 
made to burn his house, their success 
and their brutal treatment of himself 
and robbery of the church plate ; &c. 



17 



Let us follow out Sherman's report. 
''Bales were piled everywhere, the rope 
and bagging cut," (no proof of any such 
being the case,) "and tufts of cotton were j 
blown about in the wind, lodged in I 
the trees, and against houses, so as to | 
resemble a snow storm." This is very . 
poetical, and might give him credit for | 
descriptive powers, but it is too fanci- 1 
ful, and moreover, was not true ; after \ 
all, it is but a sketch of the imagina- j 
tion. That cotton, which in his eye was | 
flying about in flakes, and adorning the | 
houses with their tufts, was so soaked 
and soddened, that it did not even 
burn from the heat of the conflagration 1 
of the night, and remained for days on | 
the ground, until it was incorporated 
with it "by being constantly trodden 
under" foot. He says "the fire was I 
partially put out by our soldiers;" so far | 
as their labor was concerned, that 
might be. General Sherman entirely | 
ignores the action of our own fire- 
men with their engines, who did the 
work, and did it thoroughly. It never 
blazed forth again, though he writes, 
that " Before one single public building 
had been fired by order, the smouldering 
fires set by Hampton's orders, were re- 
kindled by the wind^and communicat- 
ed to the buildings around." 

I have already shown that Hampton 
gave no orders, and McKenzie and 
Stork, certify that the fires did not 
again kindle, nor was a house ignited by 
the cotton but that the houses contigu- 
ous to it, were fired in the rear, by Yan- 
kee soldiers, who were seen to do so by 
most credible witnesses. No building 
was fired from the cotton, nor was it 
possible for it to have communicated 
with the first house in flames that 
night, or to dozens of others which 
shared the same fate. The pile of cot- 
ton which Sherman saw, and to which 
he alludes, was in Richardson street, 
near the market; was extinguished by j 
1 o'clock, and never again ignited. The 
first fire took place on Gervais or 
Briilge street, near Gates street, and 



occurred immeliately after the firing of 
the' rockets. Those rockets ^ere con- 
sidered to be the signal for destruction ; 
which was anxiously waited for, and 
promptly attended to. The houses in 
Gervais street, were the first fired in the 
city. No fire had occurred after 1 o'clock 
p. m. Hampton's, Wallace's, Mrs. 
Stark's, etc., burnt early in the after- 
noon ; they were in the country, and two 
miles from the cotton a fact which I 
beg the reader to bear in mind. The 
house on Gervais street was about 500 
yards to the Southwest of the cotton, 
and a hurricane as Cornyn says, was 
blowing. The wind was from the 
Northwest. Under such circumstances 
it was a physical impossibility, for fire 
to have been communicated. On the 
contrary, a Yankee was seen to fire it, 
as well as others adjoining. The next 
house burnt, was that of Bates' and 
Oliver's, which was near the cotton. No 
cotton was on fire then. The house 
was fired ia the rear, in Oliver's shoe 
shop, and put out- by a negro who was 
in charge of the building. The Yan- 
kee soldier ordered him to desist or he 
would beat him. He then fired the house 
completely, and was seen to do it by 
several citizens who testified to the fact. 
The next building, was the so-called 
public property the Central Bureau 
for distri outing clothing to the soldiers 
who were in want. Phillips' ware-house 
was fired about the same time. This 
was a block to the North, and the 
flames could not have ignited, as they 
would have had to travel against the 
wind. Then followed Bell's house, five 
squares off to the North, and East of 
the others. These premises were all 
scon to be fired by Yankee soldiers 
carrying combustibles; and not one was 
so observed, until after the signal had 
been given ; not a fire occurred from 
the cotton, Sherman's assertion to the 
contrary, notwithstanding. After these, 
fires were to be seen blazing in every 
direction in ihc town, and occurring so 
rapidly one after the other, as to leave 



18 



no doubt that, it was a simultaneous 
movement, and done by men regularly 
instructed as to their duty. I could 
multiply any number of special incidents 
to prove that the firing was systematic, 
and consequently ordered. A building, 
fire-proof on the outside, was being 
fired within and put out, when the 
guard told the owner it was no use to 
struggle against it, as "his house was 
doomed and had to go." Another, 
upon removing the fire brand which was 
put between his floors, was told "to let 
it alone;" that "the damned house was to 
burn it was on the black list." " About 
dark the fires began to spread and got 
beyond the control of the brigade on 
duty within the city." That is true 
after the rockets were thrown up 
somewhere about eight o'clock at night 
when the fires spread with great rapid- 
ity, but no effort was made by the Yan- 
kees to arrest the conflagration. The 
engines were taken from their captains, 
and so injured as to be useless. The 
hose was cut, as testified to by Captains 
Stanley and McKenzie of the fire com- 
panies of the city, and the town lay 
helpless before them ; but not a move 
was made by the Yankees to check the 
progress of the flames except where a 
house was burning contiguous to \vhere 
their officers were staying. Then it 
would be arrested. Such was the case 
with Dr. Leland's residence. It was 
contiguous to Gen. Sherman's headquar- 
ters and I tbink where Col. Stone was 
stationed. They saved that house, 
while that of a widowed lady, Mrs. Levy, 
was permitted to burn by its side pro- 
bably because the destruction of Dr. 
Leland's house would throw the officers 
out of comfortable quarters. Sherman 
says "the whole of Wood's Division was 
brought in, but it was found impossible 
to check the flames which by midnight 
had be3ome unmanageable and raged 
until about 4 A. M., when the wind sub- 
siding, they were got under control." 
All correct, except one little item, viz: 
that Wood's division was not called in 



until between three and four, and they 
did not fail, but arrested it immediate- 
ly. Gren. Sherman has been very for- 
getful of hours in this statement; 
Wood's division was not called in until 
morning, and their being called in 
arose from a little incident which I will 
presently mention. Conyngham bears 
rne out in the assertion. He says "this 
scene continued until near morning, 
and then the town was cleared out, 
when there was nothing more to pillage 
or burn." Sherman says, "I was up 
nearly all night, and saw Jens. Howard, 
| Logan, Wood and others, laboring to 
I save houses etc." I do not question 
j there were many circumstances calcula- 
ted to render Sherman's rest disturbed, 
but why he and Howard and Logan and 
I Wood should have tried to save houses 
I rather mystifies me. Sherman had or- 
| dered the place to be burnt Howard 
I was carrying it out Logan was in favor 
! of the measure, and after he had left 
I Columbia, declared, if it was to be done 
again, that he would do it more effectual- 
ly. He also ordered Preston's house 
| to be destroyed. Wood, it would seem, 
! had the command of the forces about 
| the town ; and the Yankee writer's state, 
| could have pfefJBted, or have arrested 
! it at any time had he thought proper. 
I That Sherman should be disturbed was 
! perhaps natural; he was not quite demon, 
I and the act he had just authorized was 
| fiendish, though it seem to give him 
; gratification. His officers spoke freely 
; of his disregard for the condition of the 
I city, and declared without hesitation, 
j that he could have prevented it, and 
j could then (two o'clock), stop it by call- 
i ing in fresh troops, and driving out the 
I drunken soldiers who were disgracing 
I the army. Between three and four, an 
1 incident occurred, which led to his or- 
! dering in fresh troops, and arresting 
! the conflagration. Then, and not till 
I then, was Wood's division ordered in. 
j Eight hours after the time he stated to 
i the Secretary of War that he had call- 
! ed them in, they came in, turned out 



19 



the rioters, and removed the incendi- 
aries. The incident tended much to 
show the feelings of Sherman, and the 
course that he had been pursuing. 
Whilst wandering about the city and 
admiring the sublimity of the terrible 
scene, he was recognized by a lady and 
accosted. She pointed out to him the 
devastation going on and endeavored to 
enlist his feelings, by showing the deso- 
lation that must follow, and the misery 
that must overtake so many homeless, 
destitute families. He told her he had 
nothing to do with it ; that he had 
not ordered it; that it was her own peo- 
ple who had left whiskey in their way, 
and given it to the soldiers. She re- 
plied, if you have not ordered it, common 
humanity should impel you to arrest it. 
He replied, he could not, the wind was 
so high. She then said, you can stop 
your men from continuing to fire it; he 
denied that his men had anything to do 
with it ; said it was our own fault. 
Whilst making this denial, a servant 
came up, and informed her mistress, 
that a man was then setting fire^to the 
kitchen. Sherman asked where, she 
pointed to him, aad he ordered him 
shot. The guard fired, but the incendi- 
ary did not fall, and he caught him and 
brought him to Sherman who asked if 
he had not ordered him to shoot him. 
The man replied, ?ou did, but I did not 
think you meant me to kill him. There 
it stopped. The man was ordered to 
the guard house. He was only perform- 
ing the duty assigned him ; but in the 
wrong place and time. His fellow sol- 
dier koew that he was authorized to do 
what he was then doing, and so told his 
commander that he did not think he 
wanted him killed. After this incident, 
Sherman gave orders toCapt. Andrews to 
have the fire arrested, and I beg the read- 
er to remark the words tfiat were used. I 
have heard the circumstance told by sev- 
eral who knew of it, and from those who 
were present, and all used the same 
terms of expression. Addressing Capt. 
Andrews, Sherman said : "This thing 



has gone far enough. See that a stop is 
put to it; take Wood's Division, arid I 
hold you and them responsible, if it is 
not arrested.'' Let us analyze this order. 
'This thing has gone far enough." 
Docs not that imply, that he was aware 
of what was going on, and that it met 
with his sanction. "See that a stop is 
put to it." Does not that imply that 
he knew it could be stopped? " I 
hold you and them responsible if it is 
not arrested." Certainly this shows 
that he knew it was under his control, 
! and all the statements made of his in- 
j ability to stop it, and his regret, &c., 
| proved to have been merely a decep- 
tion. Sherman says, that, "about dark 
the fires began to spread, and get beyond 
the control, &c." At that time there 
was not a fire in the city, nor did they 
begin until near ci^ht o'clock after the 
signal rockets had Been thrown up, and 
then simultaneously in every direction 
of the city, the houses were to be seen iu 
a blaze. That Sherman ordered the 
destruction of the city, his soldiers did 
not hesitate to aver. As soon as they 
came in, they stated that the city would 
be .burned. That it was settled on the 
other side of the river between the of- 
ficers and themselves. That a signal 
would be given, and then the citizens 
would "see hell." General Sherman 
I says he disclaims "on the part of my 
j army, any agency in this fire;" but on 
j the contrary, claims, that "we saved 
| whatof Columbia remain unconsumed." 
After the facts, which I have just 
stated, I think it will be difficult for 
any one to give credit to the disclaimer. 
But as to the saving of what is left of 
Columbia unconsurned, there is no ques- 
tion that he is entitled to that credit, 
for after the signal rockets, and until 
Wood's Division was called in, between 
| three and four in the morning, the city 
I was burning with fearful rapidity; while 
! after the order was given to Andrews, 
I and the bugles sourrd called the incen- 
! diaries from their work of infamy, all 
| became changed. The fire was arrested; 



no more houses were ignited; and the j 
destruction of the place ceased. Sher- 
man therefore did put an end to the 
fire, and certainly saved, by his order, 
''the remnant of the once rich, and 
flourishing city." But subsequent 
events tended to show that he regretted 
his fit of benevolence. There can be 
but little doubt that there was an inten- 
tion to burn the balance when they left; 
McGregor's house was fired at four 
o'clock," P.M., on Saturday. Latta's and 
English's were destroyed on Sunday. 
Preston's house was ordered for the 
closing scene .on Monday, as soon as 
General Logan should leave ; and its 
destruction was only prevented by an 
accidental circumstance. Major Fitzgib- 
bon, who felt interested in the condition 
of the nuns, called on and asked if he 
could assist them. They stated that 
they had Sherman's promise of protec- 
tion. He inquired if it was in writing; 
they replied no, it was only a verbal 
promise. He urged them to have a 
written one and offered to carry their 
request if they would write a letter to 
Sherman. He was so urgent, and as he 
stated that the night would be one of 
horrors, that they wrote to General 
Sherman, Fitzgibbon, carried the note, 
and brought them back a written pro- 
tection, together with guards for their 
property. His language indicated his 
belief, that tho destruction of the city 
would be effected that night. Sher- 
man's protection, however, did not as- 
sist them. Their establishment was 
destroyed, and they, and their helpless 
charge of young girls, spent the night 
in the church yard. Some ladies seeing 
their condition, called on Sherman, 
represented their condition, and urged 
upon him to render them assistance. 
He called in the morning, saw the 
Mother Superior, expressed his deep re- 
gret at their loss, and*troub!ed condition, 
stated that it arose from no act of his, 
that the conflagration resulted from 
the liquor which his soldiers had ob- 
tained; that they had become intoxicat- 



ed and unmanageable; and concluded 
by offering to give them any house in 
Columbia they might choose to select 
for their establishment. 

He desired his Adjutant, Col. Charles 
Ewing to attend to their wants and see 
that they were made comfortable. That 
gentleman called often acd tried to 
render their situation more pleasant, 
and on the eve of his departure, he in- 
troduced Captain Cornyn, the Commis- 
sary, to them, who was to arrange with 
them as to their rations. In the course 
of the conversation, Ewing reminded 
them of Gen. Sherman's offer to give 
them any house they would select and 
urged them accept it; they replied they 
i had thought of it, and would select 
I Gen. Preston's house as being the 
largest in the town. Ewing replied 
"that is where Gen. Logan holds his 
Headquarters; and that house is ordered 
to be burned. I know that it will bo 
burned to-morrow; but, if you will say 
! that you will take it, I will sec the 
| General (he was Sherman's brother in- 
law,) and get the order counterman- 
i ded." On the next morning, Captain 
Cornyn called and told the nuns that 
! the army was moving in haste, and that 
j General Sherman had left the city 
i about four in the morning. They ask- 
I ed if he could tell them whether the 
order to burn the house had been coun- 
termanded, or one given for them to 
take possession. He could not. After 
| many inquiries, they found, that Gen. 
| Perry^ had the command of the place, 
j and that his orders were to burn the 
i house at a certain hour, unless the}-, 
! the nuns were in absolute possession; 
| but he sent them word, if but a part of 
i them came in, he would spare it for 
i their sake. Two of them moved in, 
5 and found the fires all prepared, and 
everything in read in ess^to burn or blow 
up the building. The negroes were 
moving out the bedding, blankets, &c., 
before it should be destroyed. Here 
then is rather positive proof that Gen. 
Sherman paid no respect to his pledge 



v 



21 



concerning private property. He had 
pledged himself to the Mayor that per- 
son and property should be respected, but 
here,two days after they had held the city, 
without any reason that could be assign- 
ed, he orders a large and costly house to 
be burnt, simply because he had the pow- 
er to show his authority and vent his 
spleen. Other houses were burnt at the 
time that was ordered to be destroyed, 
and we have reason, therefore, to sup- 
pose that the man who ordered the 
one, had also given directions for the 
other. 

It will be seen above that Sherman 
stated to the nuns that his army was un- 
der the influence of liquor, and demor- 
alized. Such was not the fact. The 
discipline was perfect, and the obedience 
of the army to the officers exemplary. 
They never were free from his control; 
never interferred with each other, and 
when taken in hand, that discipline was 
exemplified in their prompt attention to 
the orders given to Andrews. Their 
discipline was never relaxed, but certain 
men were freed from it for special pur- 
poses, etc., and it was this freedom that 
enabled them to commit with impunity 
all the atrocities of the night; saved 
them from the .patrol, as Conyngham 
states, and enabled John Hays, of Kil- 
patrick's cavalry, to go into the country 
and burn Hampton's establishment. 
This man stopped at a house to enquire 
the way, stated his reasons for wanting 
to know, and remarked that it was his 
ambition and the dearest wish of his 
heart to burn Hampton's home. On his 
return, he called and told the ladies, he 
had effected his purpose. It was this 
freedom that enabled them to burn up 
Wallace's, Stark's and Trenholm's resi- 
dences. We presume that Millwood, 
Woodlands and Trenholm's Mills and 
quarters places burnt two days after 
the general conflagration were also de- 
stroyed by special order. 

But leaving the city now to repose 
in its ashes, let us follow Sherman in 
his career through the country. From 



Columbia to Blackstocks, there was 
scarcely a dwelling left. Horses, barns, 
ricks, shanties, fences, ploughs, all 
shared the same fate, while the carcases 
of horses, mules, cows, hogs, sheep, 
strewed the earth ; killed in the most 
barbaric wafitonness of power. Sher- 
man's advent to Winnsboro, ended in 
its destruction, but in his report to the 
Government, he docs not allude to its 
being burnt. Thereby, perhaps, hangs 
a tale. The why and how might have 
been demanded, and perhaps he doubt- 
ed whether Slocuin would be civil 
enough to let him account for it in his 
own manner. It is certain that whilst 
Slocum held it, it suffered no detri- 
ment. He had pledged 'himself that it 
should be protected. It is equally cer- 
tain that after Sherman arrived there, 
a considerable part of it was burnt, and 
not by Slocum's order. 

In concluding his account of the 
burning of Columbia, he reiterates his 
assertion that it had been done by 
Hampton, and then goes on to laud his 
officers and men for their efforts to save 
the city. He speaks of those on duty, 
working "well to extinguish the flames," 
but whilst the army, with its loft hand, 
are making a show of effort, with its 
right he acknowledges that it was scat- 
tering destruction. "Others, not on 
duty, including the officers who had 
long been imprisoned, rescued by us, 
may have assisted in spreading the fire 
after it had once begun, and may have 
indulged in unconcealed joy to see the 
ruin of the Capitol of South Carolina." 

Let me now review the assertions 
of the men and officers as to their orders 
and intentions when they entered Col- 
umbia. We have become acquainted 
with their object and views on their 
route to the city. We have seen the 
woods on fire and the houses in flames, 
to 'light them on their way, the cattle 
killed and the property stolen. Th^ 
more dark and hidden deeds they have 
thrown a veil over, but let us see what 
was the fate destined for Columbia. 



The llev. Wm. Yates states : "I was in 
the yard when that fatal rocket went 
up and one of the men exclaimed '-now 
you will see hell. ;; I asked him what 
it meant, and his reply was: "That is the j 
signed for a general setting of fire to the j 
city" and iui mediately after, numbers 
of fires could be seen in every direction." 
This was at Gen Blair's headquarters 
and from one of his men. Mr. Shand 
saw them attempt to fire one of his out 
houses, and saw them destroy the 
cotton. Mr. Oliver saw them set fire to 
Mrs. Law's house, turn Mr. Reckling's 
wife and child out of his home, and 
fire it, and also witnessed their firing 
the cotton. Alderman Stork saw them 
fire the cotton in the street and also 
witnessed the destruction of Bates' and 
Oliver's house. They told Captain 
Stanley that they would "give them 
Hell to night;" that they would 
burn the city, and that the arrange- 
ments were all made over the 
river before they came in. Capt. S., 
was the captain of one of the fire com- 
panies, and whilst working at the fire 
in the rear of the Commercial Bank, 
fifteen or twenty armed soldiers forcibly 
took possession of the hose, stuck 
their bayonets into them, carried off the 
pipes, and beat in the air vessel of the 
engine. He saw soldiers set fire to the 
Mutual supply association store. Capt. 
Pratt who came in with the mayor and 
Col. Stone, told Alderman McKenzie, 
who showed him some cotton, that he 
wished he had burnt it and saved them 
the trouble as they "never left any of 
that/' Mr. McKenzie as captain of one 
of the fire companies worked at the 
.burning cotton about half past eleven, 
and continued to do so, until it was com- 
pletely extinguished. He also assisted 
in arresting the fire at the jail, which 
he thinks was 'fired by one of the in- 
mates. His firm conviction is, that the 
^ity was fired by Sherman's men and 
through his directions. Mr. Bedell 
states that the Yankees set fire to his 
dwelling housr>, and that all he could 



do, could not prevent them from effect- 
ing their purpose of burning it. -Mrs. 
McDonald saw the Yankee soldiers 
break open Mr. Pelham's door and fire 
his house; Mrs. Squiers saw the team- 
sters set fire to the cotton opposite De- 
Sausure's ; she and her family put it out ; 
that was about half past five in the after- 
noon. She saw the rockets go up, and 
immediately after, fires were to be seen 
in every direction. She confirms what 
others state, that Bates and Oliver's es- 
tablishments were fired in the rear, and, 
therefore, from those houses, spread to 
the opposite side of the street. Her 
own house was fired by cotton steep- 
ed in turpentine, placed on rods and 
and put upon the roof. Mrs. Friede- 
beres house and DeSausure's were all 
fired about the same time. Mr. Altee 
says he saw the Yankee soldiers going 
about and firing the houses on Bridge 
street and near his own they twic^ 
fired his, but he was fortunate enough 
to get it extinguished. In one case, 
it is probable that the enemy would have 
added murder to their other crimes. A 
sergeant and three privates went to the 
residence of F. Cr. do Fontaine, Esq., 
the editor of the Daily South Carolinian, 
and demanded of the sprvants where he 
was to be found. The latter being un- 
able to give the information, one of the 
men replied Damn him, its well for 
him that he isn't here, for we'd burn 
him in his den. Then, after ransacking 
the library, papers, etc., with a lighted 
candle they ignited the wood work on 
the place and left it to burn. Subse- 
quently two Federal soldiers were found 
burned to death among the ruins of the 
South Carolinian office, in another part 
of the city. Mr. Pelham, the editor of 
Guardian, was likewise threatened with 
death in case of capture. I need quote 
no more. I deem this sufficient to 
prove that the Yankee soldiers fired the 
cotton and the houses. Now let us sec 
what they declared to be their intentions. 
Hundreds of them said to others as was 
said to Stanley, that they were at liber- 



23 



ty to do as they pleased in the town, 
and intended to burn it to the ground. 
Two officers, one of the 15th, and the 
other of the 17th corps, stated, that 
"they and the soldiers wgn'e at liberty to 
do whatever they pleased ; the only re- 
striction was not to injure the women 
and children." Mrs. Thompson states 
that her guard told her that before 
morning there would be no need of a 
guard for her property as it would be 
all gone. A captain from Ohio, asked 
her, why she had stayed in Columbia ; 
said u it was a doomed city; that Sher- 
man had given orders to his troops upon 
crossing the river, that they were first 
to sack the city, and then burn it when 
the signal should be. given viz: three 
rockets." Mr. Thompson states that 
he "Was a member of the fire company ; 
that there was no fire in the town when 
Stone came in; that the fires commenced 
after the signals, and that the soldiers 
told him they "always meant to burn 
it." Lieut. McCroney when canvcrsiug 
with Mr. Harris expressed great admi- 
ration of Sherman, and remarked that 
"he would soon bring the war to a termi- 
nation ; that his policy was to destroy 
everything by fire and sword in his line 
of inarch, and especially Columbia, which 
he had determined on long before he 
marched here." A gentleman of Col- 
umbia called upon Sherman on the night 
of t he-fire to get a guard for the protec- 
tion of his family and house which was 
much exposed. ' Ho could not see 
Sherman, but met with Capt. Merrill, 
who told him that Sherman had 
given orders to admit no one, and 
that his seeing him would make no 
difference, for, "Sherman did not care a 
damn if the whole city' was in ashes." 
I will now bring this article to a close, 
after making a few remarks on the burn- 
ing of the gas works by Gen. Howard 
under, I may say, the express orders of 
Gen. Sherman, fo*r such it had every ap- 
pearance to have been. Mr.Jas.G.Gibbes 
heard that the gas works were to be 
burnt. As this was altogether private pro- 



perty, could have no bearing on the con- 
duct of the war and was not a building 
useful in war to an enemy; as Gen. 
Sherman had promised protection to all 
private property colleges, school^, 
harmless houses etc., it was thought that 
such an establishment ought not to be 
injured, and that having deprived the 
citizens of their arms, wood, water 
provisions and every means of procur- 
ing thgm by the burning of all the mills, 
and the stealing of all the wagons and 
horses, they might at least have light 
spared to them, to enable them to take 
care of their children who had been so 
cru?lly thrown out of their homes, and 
deprived of every necessary. This gen- 
tleman hearing that Gen Howard had 
the ordering of its destruction went to 
him, and remonstrated with him upon 
the cruelty of such a measure; depicted 
the distress it would occasion, and the 
utter wantonness of destroying such a 
building. Howard replied, that he saw 
DO reason why that should not be burnt 
as well as the other buildings. He was 
then requested to postpone its "firing 
until Sherman could be appealed to ; he 
told him he would see Shermaif himself ; 
the gentleman asked permission to go 
with him, as he Gen. H., being in favor 
of burning, he would not be likely to 
prove a warm advoc-ate ; he declined per- 
mission, but said he would see 
Sherman and try and get the order coun- 
termanded. After such a promise we pre- 
sume he did call on Sherman and en- 
deavor to change his determination. 
The gas works were however burnt, and 
we have a right to presume that Sherman 
gave the order for their destruction, 
and refused to countermand it. He 
therefore violated his pledge of protec- 
tion to the citizen and his property, and 
committed an act of as wanton destruc- 
tion as ever was done by man. The 
burning of those works, the order to burn 
Preston's house, the destruction of Mrs. 
English's, Latta's, and hosts of other 
houses and the utter devastation of the 
whole country from Columbia to North 



24 



Carolina, makes him one of the most 
ruthless invaders that ever cursed the 
earth by his presence. Attila or Alaric 
shrink into insignificance when com- 
pared with him; and Nichols was right 
in saying "that you will in vain search 
history for a parallel to the scathing 
and destructive effect of the invasion of 
the Carolinas." I have elsewhere shown 
that neither Sherman nor any of his 
officers had attributed the burning of 
the city to aught else than the inebria- 
tion of the soldiers; and up to the 4th 
of April, the date of his report to the 
Secretary of War, no accusation had 
been made against Hampton. That 
the charge then brought forward was 
an after thought, all the antecedents 
tend to prove. He spoke of the burn- 
ing as arising from the intoxication of 
his men yet on his route through the 
country, after leaving Columbia, he 
carried ouj; the system he commenced 
at the bridges below, and kfi^tup during 
his march to the capital. In his letter 
to Wheeler, he avows his intention to 
burn all the cotton, and also his utter 
disregard as to what became of the 
dwelling* of the planters. To talk of 
empty houses was ridiculous; from 
necessity, those houcs could have no 
occupants, though the furniture and 
slaves evidenced their being cared for, 
and in fact inhabited. In his letter to 
Hampton of the 27th of February, 
relative to the prisoners being shot, 
&c., he makes no allusion to Columbia; 
and when Hampton replied, denying 
all knowledge of any prisoners who 
were shot after having been taken, he 
charges Sherman with having burned 
the city of Columbia after ho had 
peaceable possession of it, and of other 
matters contrary to theusa^e of civilized 
nations. To this charge, Gen. Sherman 
never replied. At that time he, the 
great conqueror, never dreamed of 
being assailed; but, to his astonish- 
ment, he found the reverse. At that 
time he rather looked upon the burning 
of Columbia as the crowning act of his 



glory, and for the destruction of our 
capital he expected something like 
deification ; nor did he awake from his 
delusion until the rude act of the Sec- 
retary of Waj 1 aroused him from his 
reverie, and he began to think that he 
had carried his desire of vengeance too 
far, and it would be advisable that 
some cause should be shown to Govern- 
ment why such an atrocity had been 
perpetrated. It was then he thought 
of the order he had seen, made 
his arrangements accordingly, and be- 
came satisfied that the city was fully on 
fire before he gave the order to burn it 
down through the destruction of the 
public buildings. Posterity will not 
be as blind as the present race; their 
passions will not be excited, and they 
will acknowledge that Carolina fought, 
and nobly fought, for a right that she 
and all the States were entitled to, and 
had ever claimed; and that, in the 
infamous desire to crush out her love 
of liberty and State sovereignty, a 
tiger had been unchained, who had rev- 
elled in blood and destruction, and still 
continued, and probably would rule until 
nothing was left of liberty or civil rights 
to the consolidated but enslaved nation. 

I have now done with General Sher- 
man. I trust that I have answered 
Conyngham's question which I set out to 
do; that I have removed the slander 
attempted to be cast on Gen. Hampton 
by Sherman and his satellites; proved 
that Tecumsch Sherman was the in- 
cendiary, and he, and he alone, is re- 
sponsible for the terrible destruction that 
has been occasioned, and the retarding 
of prosperity for the next fifty years. To 
his God I now leave the miserable 
wretch, in the full belief that he will 
meet with such punishment as his atro- 
cious acts have merited. 

Having finished with Gen. Sherman 
and his fetes of arson, let me turn 
to a few remarks of Major Nichols, in 
which, contrary to good taste, as well as 
civility aud truth, he attempts to libel 
the character of the Carolinians. Let 



25 



me review the statements and the com- 
ments he has ventured to indulge in- 
and I think they will tend fully to por- 
tray not only a vile animus, but a mis- 
erable baseness of mind. I cannot leave 
the subject without exhibiting some of 
his wondrous qualities and gifts. 

A portion of what he narrates, he has 
seen and heard. But when he gives 
such a description of Hampton, as he has 
done on page 311, we are compelled 
to say that he was not acquainted with 
the man. Of all persons whom I have 
ever known, and I have known him 
since infancy, he is the most uniform 
and imperturbable in his temper. No 
one ever saw him give way to passion ; 
his face is one of remarkable quietude 
and repose, and he is rather reticent 
than otherwise. In his manner there is 
a calmness and severity that strikes every 
one as the predominant characteristic, 
and a cheerful beaming of the eye that 
makes the countenance agreeable. You 
may see determination to do what he con- 
siders a duty ; but you need never ex- 
pect to see restless anxiety or fuss. He 
is the last being to whom we should 
have expected such terms to be applied 
as "fanfaronade," etc. Nichols certainly 
made a mistake here, an,d had his friend 
Kilpatrick in his mind when he drew 
that picture. He must have recollected 
the appearance of that officer as Bom- 
bastes Furioso, challenging Wheeler out 
to fight, and imagined that he saw "le 
petit General," with a flag in his hand, 
calling over to Wheeler's men, in sten- 
torian voice, "come out now, you set of 
cowardly skunks; you claim that you 
whip Kilpatrick every time, come out 
now and try it; and I'll not leave enough, 
of you to thrash a corporal's guard. I 
am Kill himself." We almost looked 
for the boots and the well-known distich 
and supposed they might have been 
hung up, if they had not been lost in 
some of his hurried movements ; such 
as occurred when surprised by Hamp- 
ton, and in dishabille, he ran for the 
woods, leaving his mulatto doxy to follow 



as she could. There are several other 
remarks of Nichol's that ought to be no- 
ticed. Several soldiers were found on the 
road-side, who had been killed, either 
by the citizens or by Confederate sol- 
diers. They belonged to a gang who 
had been firing and pillaging the coun- 
try in every direction, and simply met 
he fate they deserved. The virtuous 
indignation of the Generals is aroused 
and Sherman gives Kilpatrick orders 
to hang and shoot prisoners who fall 
into his hands, to any extent he con- 
siders necessary. Nicholas fired on the 
occasion, calls out: "Shame on Beau- 
regard and Hampton and Butler," and 
asks, "Has the blood of their father's 
become so corrupted, that the sons are 
cowardly assassins. If this murderous 
game is continued by their friends, they 
will bitterly rue the day it was begun/' 
Without knowing why or wherefore 
those men were punished, an order is 
given for the hanging of the prisoners, 
though Sherman, when alluding to the 
circumstance, acknowledges that his for- 
agers committed many acts of atrocity. 
To the question as to the corruption of 
the blood of the father's leaving the sons 
assassins, I have only to say, if Nichol's 
wishes an answer, ,he nead only ask tho 
question personally, and he can test the 
condition of consanguinity. Men who 
have been employed in burning up the 
country, robbing the houses and turning 
out the families, to burn their dwellings, 
are to pass unmolested, because they 
wear the blue uniform of Sherman's 
thieves ; but when a rebel soldier fires 
on one of their officers, although as he 
states, the poor wretch harmed no one, 
he was hanged at once for his attempted 
assassination; a fit commentary upon the 
statement made above. 

A generous enemy would abstain from 
abusing his opponent, when no longer 
in the field. An officer of sense may, 
from want of tact, grandeurize himself 
and army, but would abstain from depre- 
ciating his antagonist. The pussillan- 
imity of the foe necessarily detracts from 



.26 



the prowess of the conquerer, and he who 
would boast of a victory gained over 
decrepid old age or staggering infancy; 
would deem himself heroic in 'overcom- 
ing the coward and the driveller. For 
his army's sake, for his own share in the 
glorious victory icon l>y sixty-eight thous- 
and men over fifteen thousand, he should 
not sneer at the conquered, but to en- 
hance his own merit, should make the 
Carolinians very paladins; the Cids of 
this century, who fought and defended 
every inch of their ground with the skill 
and stubbornness of a Massena. Let me 
turn to one of the sentences in which 
he has vented his spleen and exhibited 
his folly. There are many of the same 
kind to be found in his work. "A 
characteristic of South Carolina chivalry 
has impressed itself upon all of us since 
we entered the State, and had a marked 
illustration last night and this morning. 
I refer to a whining, helpless, craven 
spirit, which shows itself whenever any 
of these people get hurt/ 7 "These fel- 
lows who were to die in the last ditch ; 
who would welcome us with bloody 
hands to hospitable graves, are more 
cowardly than children, and whine like 
whipped school -boys. Ridiculously* 
helpless, they sit and groan, without 
making an effort to help themselves." 
That statement is as false as ever was 
penned by a Yankee, and not a man, 
woman, or child six years old, but would 
pronounce the writer of such a para- 
graph, a miserable dastard, unused to the 
society of gentlemen, and incapable of 
appreciating what belongs to the class. 
The incident that he has mentioned of 
the Palmetto tree," ought to have made 
him blush, whilst he was writing such 
a slander. That tree was respected-even 
by the rude soldier; and why ? Because 
it recorded the names of men who had 
been engaged in the Mexican war, and 
brought back with them a character sur- 
passed by none other; because they knew 
that that Regiment saved the honor of 
the army, when the troops of New York 
and Pennsylvania driven back, exhibited 



their terror to the enemy. They could 
not advance on Chepultepec, but the 
Palmetto Regiment, though decimated 
in the previous fight, advanced against 
the enemy, supported the retreating 
forces of New York and Pensylvania, 
allowed them to regain their morale, 
and enabled Scott to dictate his terms 
from the halls of Montezuma. Their 
sons and relatives have met the Yan- 
kees time after time in battle, and never 
given back one inch, with any thing of 
equal numbers. That they have not 
degenerated, let Bull Run, Seven 
Pines, Mechanicsville, Coal Harbor, 
and a host of other places, testify. 
Not merely in these places, but you can 
scarce mention a battle which has been 
fought, in which the blood of Carolina 
has not freely flowed. They beat you 
at Eton, the last battle in Carolina, 
when Butler drove back your forces. 
They fought you to the last. * 

Turn to the siege of Charleston to 
Secessionville, and say whether any 
evidence of a craven was spirit there; 
or whether within the walls of Sumter, 
the whining of the whipped school-boy 
has been heard. The siege of that fort 
should have taught you to have used 
more truthful language. For more than 
a year, with your immense force, you 
tried to get possession of that one for- 
tress and constantly failed. With 
your immense naval armament and land 
forces, you day by day, rained your iron 
balls and shells upon that devote.d place, 
but she succumbed not; you beat down 
her walls, until she became a mass of 
ruins, yet still she defied you ; and when 
her upper tiers were silenced and she 
could no longer return your fire with her 
cannon, her note of defiance was still 
heard in the booming sound of the morn- 
ing and evening gun. Twice you at- 
temped to scale her battered walls, aud 
twice she hurled your forces back, brok- 
en and discomfittcd ; and yet you talk 
about the craven spirit of South Caroli- 
nian chivalry, as an object of the utmost 
disgust and contempt of the Northern 



27 



officer and soldier. The expression 
was as false as it was anxiously desired 
to be, and in your heart you knew it to 
be a. falsehood. You at last obtained 
the old fort; but how? Not by gallant 
conquest, but her own voluntary surren- 
der. She could fight no more and the 
very flag which you have hoisted in 
triumph over her battlement, but reads 
you a lesson of disgrace. The stars 
and stripes that now flaunt over her bat- 
tlements, tell you of a flag that had 
been struck after three days contest, and 
of others that were arrayed against it for 
over five hundred days, yet could never 
fora moment be planted on her soil. And 
the morning gun but recalls the recollec- 
tion of that protracted struggle and mis- 
erable failure. The assertion was false. 
No craven spirit was seen in the State ; 
you heard no whining entreaties. They 
acknowledged themselves overpowered 
by your numbers, but not subdued by 
your bravery. They submitted to a ne- 
cessity forced upon them, and made gal- 
ling in the extreme by the grossierics of 
of the victors. So far and no farther 
do they acknowledge. They still be- 
lieve they were right, but like many 
others, similarly situated, they have 
yielded to the necessity of their position. 
Thfey agreed to remain quiet, but they" 
did not bargain for abuse from the igno- 
rant and the vulgar. The force opposed 
to them was overwhelming, and their 
not being able to oppose, reflected neith- 
er disgrace nor dishonor. By Major 
Barry's account, Sherman had 68,000 
efl'ective muskets, besides cavalry, etc., 
and Nichol's himself boasts that the foot- 
steps of 100,000 abolitionists had press- 
ed the sacred soil and broken down our 



spirits. To such a force was opposed tho 
troops of Hardee, and the few men gath- 
ered together in a hurry and concentra- 
ted about Columbia the aged and the 
boys; in all, not equal to the number 
that Sherman had in any one of his three 
Divisions, and 12,000 of these in Charles- 
ton, useless to tho cause. Under such 
circumstances, they met and fought you 
and retarded your movements. To charge 
a people with cowardice for not beating 
back such hordes, could only have been 
made by a brutal mind, regardless of all 
the amenities of civilization. Let us see, 
if when he penned those lines, he believ- 
ed in their truth. Had he forgotten his 
statement that "the rebels successfully 
defended their strong line of works on 
the north side of the Congaree creek, 
until about four o'clock this afternoon." 
"Our attempts to cross the river below, 
have met with earnest opposition." "I 
never saw more spirited determined 
fighting, than that of those few hundred 
brave fellows." If the fighting was 
spirited and determined on the one side, 
it must have been equally so on the other, 
and whilst he has designated the num- 
ber of those engaged on th.3 one part, 
why not have said that their opponents 
were but a few men left to obstruct their 
march, whilst the rest of the army made 
good their retreat. Such expressions 
from any writer, throw doubt upon the 
narrative ; but from an officer it reflects 
disgrace, and shows a bitterness of mind 
that delights in traducing. Here let me 
stop; and I will only say, that I am yet 
to learn where, with equal numbers and 
a fair field, the Yankees ever got tho 
better of the Southern Rebels. 



APPENDIX. 



The following statements refer to the situa- 
tion of military affairs, and the number of 
troops engaged on both sides, and have not 
been embodied in the foregoing account. 

The disparity between the forces of the in- 
vaders and the defenders of the soil may be 
thus set forth. If the whole number of men 
under arms in South Carolina at the time of 
the entry of Gen. Sherman into the State 
could have been collected together they would 
have amounted to about 16,000. Of these, 
12,000 thousand were under Hardee, scattered 
along the coast ; 2,600 were under Stephcnson, 
collected chiefly from fragments of the West' 
ern army : 1,400 under Wheeler, and 500 unr 
der Butler, or say, in round numbers 2,000 
cavalry. With this small force it was attempt- 
ed to hold in check Sherman's n.rmy.of 75,000 
men. Major Barry > the Federal Chief, of Ordi- 
nance, in his report to Gen. Sherman .writes : 
"The number of guns was reduced to on.e per 
thousand effective bayonets. The whole num- 
ber of field batteries were sixteen, comprising 
gixtyrcigrht guns, which were distributed as 
follows i lo.tii Army Corps, 18 guns; 17th 
Army Corps, 14 guns', 14th Army Corps, 16 
guns; Cavalry, 4 guns. Total 68." Add to 
to this force the officers, and the probability 
is that the army must have exceed 75,000 men. 
Hardee soon withdrew to Charleston, and Sher- 
man started through the swamps, on his grand 
tour to sever the railroads and reach Columbia. 
Nichols speaks of the want of spirit in defend- 
ing the creeks, bridges, etc., which the Feder- 
als had to pass, and how thev had turned our 
flank and dashed through woods and water to 
drive the enemy. He would lead the public 



to suppose that desperate assaults had been 
made against equal forces in which Yankee 
boldness and stategy had prevailed, when in 
fact our meagre numbers only enabled us to 
maintain a corps of observation, which was 
compelled to retreat whenever the enemy ap- 
proached too near. In so doing our troops 
occupied calmly and in order, the next best 
position to which they were assigned. 

If we had had 30,000 men the result, in all 
probability, would have been far different. 
Sherman would have been deprived of the 
pleasure of burning small villages, and indulg- 
ing in the smaller game of stealing horses, 
killing cows, hogs, pigs, and sacking hen roosts 
and negro hovels. From the time Sherman 
passed Orangeburg thero were opposed to torn 
four thousand men, all told a body which any 
one of his corps would outnumber by three to 
one. This smalt force constantly contested 
his advance ; shirmished with him at Thorn's 
Creek f obstructed his movements at Granby, 
and held him at bay. As Nichol's acknowl- 
edges, "the rebels successfully defended their 
single line of works on the north side of Con- 
garee Creek until about four o'clock this 
afternoon-," referring to the operations of the 
loth, preceding their entry into Columbia, 
This was done by Wheeler, with about 600 
men. Nichols, continues: "Our attempts to 
cross the river b v eipw ; the city have met with 
earnest opposition. After sharp skirmishing 
we managed to get .a few men across the river 
in boats. I never sa^w more spirited or deter* 
mined fighting than that of these few hundred 
brave fellows," referring of course to the Fed- 
eral advance guard. He pays further tribute 



to the gallantry of our little army in his ac- 
count of the battle of Averysborough, when 
he writes, "The regiment of Cnarleston heavy 
artillery, made up of the best blood of Caro- 
lina, was in our immediate front during the 
fight. It fought well, and suffered severely, 
both in officers and men. A larger proportion 
of officers were wounded in this fight than any 
fight I have known." Yet these are the men 
who had lost caste had become so demoral- 
ized that it was impossible to recover their 
position, etc. He adds further, "The rebels 
have nhown more pluck than we have seen 
in them since Atlanta. To be sure they were 
behind breastworks, and fully equaled us in 
numbers actually engaged ; but they supposed 
the whole army would come up, which was 
half the battle to us in its moral effect upon 
them." 

With such admissions as this, it is wilful 
slander and unworthy of any writer, who has 
the true feelings and principles of a gentleman, 
to make the statements we have just recorded. 
To return, however, to the defence of Col- 
umbia. Sherman arrived here with the whole 
of his immense army, confronted by not more 
than 5,000 men, all told ; a difference of about 
twelve to one. This small force had been 
scattered over a space of thirty miles, and was 
in fact little more than an army of scouts. So 
if there be any disgrace attaching to the de- 
fence of the Capitol of South Carolina, it surely 
rests on Sherman, who proved himself so das- 
tardly in disposition, fiendish in temper, and 
brutal in conduct, as to devastate a country 
Avholly incapable of protecting itself and com- 
pletely in his power. Mor would he have at- 
tempted it, had Gen. Johnston been in com- 
mand with a force of even 20,000 men. Foi 
that officer, with about that number of men 
afterwards fought Sherman at Bentonville, anc 
for three days hold his great army, nearly 
three larger than our own, completely ii 
check. Unfortunately, South Carolina coulc 
not have mustered 20,000 troops under any 
circumstances. Sherman knew the countr 
was at his mercy and, like a fiend, he showec 
none. In his recent fourth of July speech 
he boasts of having succeeded in effecting tin 
results he intende(J,and virtually acknowledge 



he destruction he has so often denied. In 
act, the great idol of the North, spoke scarcely 
a truth while in South Carolina. What confi- 
lence can be placed in a man who thus offi- 
ially falsifies matters which come under his 
bservation, and disparages an enemy whose 
>rowess he had occasion to fear and to respect 
on every occasion. 

We can only view the march of Sherman 
hrough Georgia and the Carolinas, as a Great 
iaid, conceived and carried out, simply be- 
cause he anticipated no opposition. Hood's 
bold and unfortunate attempt in Tennesee 
eft the door open. It was, in fact, safer for 
;he Federal Commander to march to the coast 
than to retrace his steps. He came to Savan- 
nah because there were few or no obstacles in 
lis way ; he pressed forward to Columbia, 
aecause there were few troops in this direc- 
tion to contest his advance , and he burnt the 
city to the ground, to gratify a fiendish spirit 
which revelled in the misery of his fellowmen. 
If there is glory in this, let him and his friends 
make the most of it. 

The impartial historian will record that in 
no single instance did Sherman ever whip Gen. 
Johnston, or Kilpatrick obtain the advantage 
of Gen. Hampton. In truth, Gen. Kilpatrick 
does not figure very boldly in the closing 
scenes of the war, with all the assistance of 
Nichols and Sherman. After his famous race 
to the swamp near Fayetteville, when he took 
his precipitate departure in his shirt and draws, 
leaving his fair and frail school marm behind, 
the great Yankee cavalryman kept well under 
the wing of the infantry. 

I close this brief review of the military 
operations of Gen. Sherman in South Carolina, 
with the following extract from a letter writ- 
ten by a distinguished officer, whose position 
enabled him to obtain correct information, 
and who moreover waa a participant in the 
scenes to which he refers : 

" At Congaree creek not more than 600 
men of Wheeler's were engaged, and the 
enemy only succeeded in dislodging him by 
crossing the creek above and below them. 
This fight held Sherman all day, and he camp- 
ed that night near the Congaree creek. The 
infantry were withdrawn to the Columbia side 
of the river soon afcer dark and were followed 



30 



by the cavalry. The bridge was burned con- 
trary to orders. The order was for the Engin- 
eers to destroy one or two arches. Wheeler's 
command was placed, one brigade with Butler 
below Columbia, and the rest on the Saluda 
river. There were thus iti Columbia, only 
2600 infantry under Stephenson, Butler's cav- 
alry, about 600 men, and one brigade of 
Wheeler's, about 400. Wheeler fought at the 
Saluda, and between that fcud Broad river, 
which he crossed on the evening of the 16th. 
At 3 A. M., on the 17th, Stephenson took 
Wheeler's place, and the latter marched higher 
up the river. There were about 4,500 to 
5,000 men in all, guarding the river from 
Frost's plantation to Zeigler's Ferry, a distance 
of about 30 miles. The enemy crossed during 
the night of the 16th, in front of the infantry, 
and Gen. Hampton seeing that all defence was 
hopeless, ordered Stephenson to fall back. 
Soon after sun rise on the 17th, Wheeler cov- 
ered his withdrawal." 

An extract from Wheeler's report states 
that "about nine o'clock or half-past, when 
near the cross roads, two miles north of Col- 
umbia, I met the Mayor of Columbia in a 
carriage, preceded by a large white flag. I 
immediately ordered the firing to cease, and 
allowed him to pass on to the enemy. I with- 
drew up the Winnsboro road. Gen. Hampton 
shelled the camp of the enemy from the 
hills of East Granby on the night of the loth, 
and Butler repelled quite a severe attack upon 
him. The artillery lost six or seven horses 
killed, and there were quite a number of men 
wounded. 

"From Chester, we turned and got on both 
flanks of the enemy, and had almost daily 
skirmishes, some quite heavy. Every day from 
50 to 300 prisoners were brought in. The 
Provost Marshall reported upwards of 3*,000 
prisoners turned over by the cavalry, and I 
think nearly as great a number were killed and 
wounded. About 100 wagons, 400 head of 
cattle and several hundred head of horses, were 
captured. in the campaign. Sherman's whole 
loss from the time he left Columbia to the end 
of the struggle, was not less than 10,000 men. 
At Fayettcville, about 100 Yankee cavalry came 



in when none of our troops were there ; eight 
men charged them, routed them, killing eight 
and capturing nine the leader and seven 
men. Near Fayetteville, Kilpatrick was at- 
tacked and his camp was taken, with upwards 
of 500 Yankees and 173 of our men, who were 
prisoners. Kilpatrick escaped in his shirt and 
draws only, leaving his fair and frail Yankee 
school marm, in our hands. One of our boys 
assisted in dressing her and let her go to her 
protector. At Bentonville, Gen. Johnston 
attacked Sherman. Two corps drove him a 
mile, took three guns, and a line of breast- 
works. Had his whole force been in position 
he would have defeated Sherman entirely. 
With 18,000 men, he held his position in front 
of Sherman's whole force, strengthened by 
Schofield's corps for three days, and then re- 
treated without loss. From to Hills- 

boro, the cavalry were engaged every day, 
covering the retreat of the infantry. Some 
of these affairs were quite serious, and all 
creditable to our army. The day before Ra- 
leigh was evacuated, it was desirable to check 
the advance of the enemy as much as possible, 
in order to remove the stores", etc. With one 
brigade only, and Bntler's Command, and two 
batteries of artillery, two corps of the enemy 
were so steadily engaged, that they advanced 
only five miles in six hours. When we evac- 
uated Raleigh, Kilpatrick charged Hampton's 
rear-guard. We turned on him, charged and 
drove him back in confusion, taking prisoners, 
and killing and wounding some of his men. 
This was the last fight of Hampton's command 
and it was a success." 

No v let me ask with such facts before him, 
Nichols being Sherman's aid, what epithet 
should be attacked to his honored name, when 
he could pen the following lines. 

"The Rebels hope that Johnston will be able 
to recall and reinforce that army ; but no man 
living has that power. He might as well try 
to reclothe the naked limbs of those oaks trees 
yonder on the hill side, with last years foliage 
of green ; or a task more impossible yet, re- 
store to the Southern Gentlemen, their lost 
reputation for chivalry, honor and manhood." 



ft (> / 






UNIVERSITY OF 



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